It’s looking like the storm heading toward the high country that skiers have been eyeing hopefully is going to pay off with substantial snowfall, especially in Colorado’s northern mountains.

Anticipated to begin Tuesday night, the storm should be “a prolonged event,” according to Joel Gratz, founding meteorologist of the OpenSnow forecasting and tracking service. Steamboat looks like it will be the big winner as Gratz is predicting 20 inches to fall through Saturday with another 9 inches coming next week. Steamboat is scheduled to open Nov. 20.

Other projections on OpenSnow call for Beaver Creek to receive 12 inches through Saturday with 11 predicted for Vail and 10 for Winter Park. Vail opens Friday and Winter Park will open Nov. 17. Breckenridge, which opens Friday, can expect 7 inches through Saturday.

Three Front Range ski areas are already open. Loveland and Arapahoe Basin are expected to receive 9 inches through Saturday while Keystone can expect 6 inches.

Most of the mountains mentioned here can expect another 5 to 7 inches of snow next week. By the end of next week, 10 Colorado ski resorts are scheduled to be open. Nine more are scheduled to open the following week, including Copper Mountain and Beaver Creek.

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“Inbounds terrain is limited to a few runs at a few mountains right now, though this should expand somewhat due to the new snow and temperatures in the teens and 20s from Wednesday through Saturday which should help snowmaking,” Gratz wrote. “And if the backcountry is your thing, please remember to check the avalanche forecast before heading out. It’s the right habit to have, even if it feels like early-season conditions are safe and you know your zone.”

Indeed. Gratz expects Cameron Pass — a popular backcountry area located about 65 miles west of Fort Collins — to receive 16 inches of snow through Saturday and another 11 inches next week. Berthoud Pass could receive 11 inches through Saturday and another 7 next week.

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